Tourist Tip #317 / The 'Sweet as Honey Festival' Across Israel Is On!

From honey tastings to actually harvesting the sweet goo, this is the season to visit Israel's apiaries.

Are you in the Land of Milk and Honey around the holidays? Now’s your chance to learn more about the golden goo that traditionally helps get the Jewish New Year off to a sweet start – and about the bees that produce it.

Apiaries across Israel have opened their doors to the public through September 28, allowing visitors a chance to meet beekeepers and their buzzing buddies. Visitors get to taste different types of honey and, while about it, learn about the crucial role bees play in the environment – a fact that has garnered greater attention since colony collapse disorder began wiping out bees in recent years (according to some reports, an estimated 10 million beehives have been decimated in the past six years).

Whether you’ll be in the north, center or south, you can visit one of the 10 participating apiaries and take part in various activities: Watching beekeepers and the bees at work and at play; tour the facilities; see films on bees and their way of life; make candles from beeswax; take part in bee and honey related workshops; and hear lectures about different bee products, such a royal jelly and propolis – think bee cement: it’s a resinous substance that bees collect from plants and use to repair holes in hives.

Kids can also get in on the fun, with different age-appropriate workshops and activities at some of the apiaries - if activities are crucial, call the place you’re thinking of visiting first to make sure what they can offer.

Among the apiaries taking part in the festival are Galil Apiary at Kibbutz Shamir, Pirhei Galil Beehive in Moshav Manot, Kaveret Habustan in Peki’in, Dvorat Hatavor in the Lower Galilee, Ofir Apiary in Alon Hagalil and Ye’arat Hadvash in Alonei Abba – all in northern Israel.

If you’re in Haifa, you can visit the Emek Hefer Apiary, and in central Israel, you can check out Lin Farm in Kfar Bilu.

For those in southern Israel, try Kibbutz Yad Mordechai and the Porat Apiray in Ein Yahav, a moshav near the border with Jordan.

Not sure about you, but we’re getting a slight buzz just thinking about it.

For more information on opening hours, entrance fees and directions, see http://honey.org.il/visitors-center.php?id=7 (only in Hebrew, unfortunately).

Daniel Tchetchik